The combination of wearing a dress over trousers is an unconventional style that goes in and out of fashion, it was in fashion in the noughties and is now trending again on the runway since fall 2022 and now spring/summer 2023 and has been seen on the runways of Chloe, Givenchy and Proenza Schouler to name a few. In some cultures, it’s a traditional look, and this can provide an easy guide to a flattering way to wear this look.
The style can be worn by anyone, regardless of age or body type, and it’s a perfect way to add a unique twist to your wardrobe but there are key ways of wearing this trend that varies by body shape and proportions.
It’s also a practical way to extend the wearability of your dresses throughout the year. This trend can work for any occasion, from casual outings to more formal events depending on the fabrication and style of these garments.
1. Balance is Key
Layering a dress over trousers is a stylish way to add some extra dimension and texture to your outfit. The key to pulling off the dress-over-trousers look is balance. To create balance, you need to ensure that the dress and trousers complement each other. When wearing a dress over trousers, you should aim to create a balanced silhouette that looks effortless.
Think about the principle of volume – you don’t want wide-leg pants paired with a voluminous dress, instead opt for a slimmer trouser with a dress that has volume, or a slim mini-dress with a wider or bootcut pant.
2. Colour Blend
If you are petite or just have proportionally shorter legs, colour blend your dress to your trousers so you create an elongating column of colour.
3. Choose the Right Dress
When layering a dress over trousers, it’s important to choose the right dress. A dress that falls just above the knee or mid-thigh is perfect for layering over trousers. If the dress is too long, it can overwhelm the trousers and look sloppy.
A really great option is to wear your shirt dress over a pair of pants, as you can unbutton the dress so that it shows more legs which allows you a longer look.
Alternatively, got a dress that you feel is too short for you? Why not try layering it over a pair of trousers.
Also, look for dresses that are not too voluminous. A dress that is too voluminous can make you look bigger than you are and can make the outfit look cluttered and shorter. Instead, opt for dresses that are fitted at the top and gradually flare out at the bottom if you have a waisted shape, alternatively if you have a straighter body shape, go for shift-style dresses over your trousers.
4. Choose the Right Trousers
When layering a dress over trousers, it’s important to choose the right trousers. Look for trousers that are slim-fitting or tapered at the ankle. Wide-legged or flared trousers can make the outfit look bulky and unbalanced. You can choose between jeans, leather trousers, or tailored pants. Depending on the style of your dress, you can choose different fabrics and textures for your trousers. A bootcut or flared trouser can work when they are slim and fitted through the thigh and the dress ends at the thigh and has a slight flare.
5. Pay Attention to Length
One of the keys to layering a dress over trousers is to pay attention to the length of both pieces. The dress should be shorter than the trousers ideally with the hem above the knee, midi dresses don’t work well unless you’re super tall. This will create a visually pleasing balance between the dress and the trousers.
6. Accessorize Wisely
When layering a dress over trousers, accessorizing is important to complete the look. Keep your accessories simple and understated, so they don’t overpower the outfit. You can wear a statement necklace or earrings to add some visual interest to the outfit. A belt can also be a great accessory to define your waistline and add structure to the outfit, bringing in some of the volume.
If you have shorter legs or are petite, wearing this look with heels will give you back some length to your legs.
7. Experiment with Colours and Patterns
Layering a dress over trousers can be a great way to experiment with colours and patterns. You can create a monochromatic look by choosing a dress and trousers in the same colour family. Or you can mix and match patterns and colours to create a more eclectic look. Just remember to keep the proportions of the dress and trousers in mind to avoid looking too busy.